HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
NASA probe could reveal comet life, scientists claim

Cardiff (UK) scientists are playing a major role in a NASA mission, which they believe could reveal living matter in the icy layers beneath the surface of a comet.

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft will make a historic encounter with Comet Tempel-1 on 4th July, when a metre-long projectile will crash into the comet and tunnel through its outer layers, producing a crater and a plume of gas and dust.

UK astronomers involved in monitoring the comet before, during and after the impact and interpreting the results include Cardiff University's Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and Dr Max Wallis at the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology. They will conduct their study through instruments on the mother spacecraft.

The Cardiff scientists predict that Deep Impact will verify their theory that the outer crust of the comet will consist of asphalt-like material with permafrost beneath. The small icy fragments blasted out by the impact will include organic matter, they suggest.

The mainly copper projectile will hit the comet at 25,000 miles per hour and will penetrate 15-20 metres into the surface before exploding. The comet will remain intact despite losing a huge amount of material 100,000 tonnes from a 100 metre diameter crater, and the impact is not expected to alter the comet's orbit.

"Not only is Deep Impact a spectacular experiment, it is also a test for our long-standing arguments," added Professor Wickramasinghe. "It will show, we believe, that a comet is not a rubble pile, nor a conglomerate of ices, but a porous mass of organics and ice under the black asphalt crust."

Comets are thought to have accumulated from a mixture of ices and organic interstellar dust at the time the solar system was formed some 4.6 billion years ago.

"This material is quite porous, so it is daring again to predict that subsurface ponds or lakes form transiently due to heat penetrating the exterior crust. We can thus expect biology on c
'"/>

Contact: Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe
Wickramasinghe@cardiff.ac.uk
44-29-2087-4201
Cardiff University
29-Jun-2005


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Swarming starlings help probe plasma, crowds and stock market
2. Anthrax bacteriums deadly secrets probed
3. Measuring the unseeable: Penn researchers probe proteins dark energy
4. Researchers probe risks, benefits of folic acid fortification
5. MIT researchers probe bones tiny building blocks
6. Study to probe how healthy younger adults make use of genetic tests
7. York mathematician probes geometric route to combat viruses
8. Penn scientists engineer small molecules to probe proteins deep inside cell membrane
9. Simulated populations used to probe gene mapping
10. Super small nanoelectrodes can probe microscale environments
11. Prototype space probe prepares to explore Earths deepest sinkhole

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: NASA probe could reveal comet life scientists claim

(Date:10/19/2014)... in India over the last 30 years contributed ... growth during that time, according to a new ... Change ., "Energy access is fundamental to development: ... including education, communication, and health," says IIASA researcher ... increased energy access is widely agreed to be ...
(Date:10/17/2014)... – Accurate knowledge regarding Ebola is critical and pertinent ... of hazardous global outbreak and epidemic. The Journal, ... a special issue, Ebola Virus and Public Health, to ... knowledge in this critical societal moment. , On ... Ebola for Clinicians . The primer was prepared by ...
(Date:10/16/2014)... war on the human body. Battles are won, ... pancreatic cancer, this stalemate—known as tumor dormancy—can last ... a phenomena that is poorly understood. , ... of Salvatore Torquato, a Professor of Chemistry at ... tumor dormancy and the switch to a malignant ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Improved electricity access has little impact on climate change 2Modeling tumor dormancy 2
(Date:10/22/2014)... According to new market research report "Cloud Professional ... & Support), by Service Model (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS), ... & Community)) - Global Forecast to 2019", published ... Services Market into various sub-segments with an in-depth ... the drivers and restraints for this market with ...
(Date:10/22/2014)... HONG KONG , Oct. 22, 2014  aTyr ... today that rare disease expert John C. McKew ... Dr. McKew brings more than two decades of expertise ... National Institutes of Health, Wyeth Research and Genetics Institute, ... lead aTyr,s efforts to expand and translate its novel ...
(Date:10/20/2014)... ON , Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSXV: ... $1.7 million which brings Q3 orders to $5.8 million and provides ... control projects in North America and one ... continue to bid new projects at record levels," said Peter ... were higher at the end of Q3 than they have been ...
(Date:10/20/2014)... Earle Martin , Chief ... that Ellen Teplitzky, an experienced attorney specializing in ... industry, has joined the firm as Director of ... practice. NDA Partners provides legal services, including ... to top law firms and their clients in ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Cloud Professional Services Market by Public, Private, Hybrid & Community Expected to Reach $34.41 Billion by 2019 - New Report by MarketsandMarkets 2Cloud Professional Services Market by Public, Private, Hybrid & Community Expected to Reach $34.41 Billion by 2019 - New Report by MarketsandMarkets 3Cloud Professional Services Market by Public, Private, Hybrid & Community Expected to Reach $34.41 Billion by 2019 - New Report by MarketsandMarkets 4Cloud Professional Services Market by Public, Private, Hybrid & Community Expected to Reach $34.41 Billion by 2019 - New Report by MarketsandMarkets 5aTyr Pharma Appoints John C. McKew, Ph.D., as Vice President, Research 2aTyr Pharma Appoints John C. McKew, Ph.D., as Vice President, Research 3NDA Partners Appoints Ellen Teplitzky, JD as Director of its Legal Services Practice 2
Cached News: